WPBakery Page Builder Review (former Visual Composer) – Should You Use This WordPress Plugin?
“Page builders” are tools used to create web pages. But, they are unique. You don’t need to know any coding language and web design principles (but it will not harm to have them) to build an excellent looking and functional website using page builders. They are meant for creative individuals, who are not that technically gifted.
Page builders are for those unfamiliar with CSS, HTML or other common coding languages and tools. It does not mean that coding experts shouldn’t use them. But they are more inclined to those who are lacking the advanced skills, enabling them to build websites on their own.
WPBakery (known as Visual Composer before) is one of the best and most popular page builders. It is the number one best-selling page builder WordPress plugin on CodeCanyon, a popular market. It has been used to create more than 1,000,000 websites already, and the number is growing as you read this.
In this article, we will present you the WPBakery plugin and its many features. By the end of it, you will understand why it is what it is; one of the best WordPress page builders out there. Stay with us.
As noted, WPBakery is a WP page builder plugin. It should work with any WordPress theme, and you should have no problems installing it like any other plugin.
Do You Need It?
It is not essential, but it offers a lot. You can build web pages in the default, built-in WordPress editor, but it will only get you so far. It is suitable for the most basic blogs, with a few pictures here and there, but that’s about it. Any greater level customization/organization such as putting content in rows and columns, creating animated buttons, or putting charts, graphs and maps into the middle of your page will be far beyond the reach of the regular WP editor.
So yes, if you want to do all this on your own, without paying a developer to do it for you, you will need a page builder. And you will hardly find a better option than WPBakery. Its drag and drop style will allow even the biggest tech newbies to create some visually appealing and functional websites in the blink of an eye.
How Does It Work?
TLDR; you just drag and drop, as simple as that.
The first thing that you will notice when you start adding or editing a page in WPBakery are two buttons – backend and frontend editor. You should build your web pages in that order; first, do everything you can in the backend editor, and after finishing, make the necessary adjustments in the frontend editor.
When you open the backend editor, there are two primary options to choose. One is to “Add content” (some element or text), and the other one is to “Choose a predefined layout”.
There are six predefined layouts in the WPBakery. These are Landing, Call to Action, Feature list, Description, Service, and Product. When you click the “Add element button”, around 50 different elements will appear. These are divided into four categories: Social, Structure, Content and WordPress widgets. You can add Google Maps, YouTube videos, (pie) charts, a WP calendar, Facebook like button, Pinterest button, pages, searches, etc.
If you want to edit the size of the borders, bedding, and margins it can all be done in the design options tab. When you choose the necessary element, you can add it with one of the default animations, or edit the animation by using CSS. Everything you do in the backend editor is done through the system of rows and columns. It will scare you at first, but it is fairly logical, and using it will become second nature once you get into it.
A great thing about the WPBakery is that it enables you to save all your changes as a template. That will make creating future, similar looking pages much easier.
Frontend editor is something else; it really makes WPBakery stand out from other page builder plugins. It will allow you customization in real time, without the need to refresh the page draft you are building.
With the frontend editor, the preview page option is history. You will see the content you are making and changes you make on the page exactly the same as your website visitors see them. That will save you time and unnecessary hassle.
There is a cool option that lets you preview how your page looks without the WPBakery editing options displayed, giving you an insight into the final product. Also, you will be able to preview your page in five different screen sizes, and you will know exactly how it looks on computers, tablets, or smartphones. That is vital since nowadays most of the browsing is done through our mobile devices.
Important note: choosing either frontend or backend editor is not permanent. You can switch back at any time. Also doing things first in the back editor and then in front is not necessary. Many WPBakery users choose to do everything in the front editor to save time and hassle.
It’s nice to know that the WPBakery is very flexible. You get to choose exactly how it appears on different mobile devices. It allows you to fine tune how you want your content to show on mobile screens.
The WPBakery has another cool option called the skin builder. This excellent tool allows you to make some global changes to your website. You can set color templates, adjust it for mobile screen width, grid spacing and other. All these settings that you apply in the skin builder are saved in a static CSS file. This will allow them to be added later.
If you are concerned that adding too many features will hurt your website’s speed, don’t be. WPBakery will load files only if they are about to be used by a particular element. This will not only save bandwidth but will make sure your pages load faster, thus improving your site’s SEO rating.
Although content builders are meant for beginners, the WPBakery has some features that are ideal for more advanced developers too. One of these is the Visual Query Builder. If you know what you’re doing, building custom queries will be relatively easy. Another WPBakery feature for advanced users is setting selective access in your WordPress site.
Also, developers will appreciate the ability to sell custom shortcodes and integrate them in their own commercial WordPress themes. You can sell all these in theme marketplaces such as ThemeForest or MojoMarketplace. This is one of the key factors of WPBakery’s popularity.
WPBakery supports add-ons. There are more than 200 add-ons available, and you will probably find the right one for your needs. To name a few, we will mention Easy Form for WPBakery – a useful add-on that will allow you to create and manage forms quickly. Also, there is the Easy Tables add-on, which will allow you to create tables with drag and drop interface.
WPBakery has excellent support, which is to be expected since it is one of the most popular page builders out there. Creators of this great plugin have done their job well, providing you with many great tutorials. Also, you will get a lifetime of automatic updates. Support is provided by a ticket system, but before using it, you will be asked to verify your license. That is a necessary evil. It will prevent illegal users from getting the same treatment as those who actually obtained WPBakery legitimately.
WPBakery has been out for a while. But since it is still one of the best-selling plugins out there, you should rest assured it will remain regularly updated and with exceptional support for years to come.
The official site is excellent and offers extensive documentation. There are some more advanced articles as well for those developers who want to take customization even further.
It’s nice to know that once you have purchased the plugin, you get to enjoy it indefinitely as there are no yearly renewal fees.
WPBakery Page Builder Pros & Cons
- Suitable for beginners – no coding required to build excellent websites
- Front-end and back-end editing
- Good selection of modules
- Intuitive and responsive template system
- Good developer options and advanced features for additional functionality
- Good support
- Shortcodes based – uninstalling the plugin will make the content created with it stop working
- No native import/export functionality
- Adding third party widgets is hard
WPBakery is one of the best-selling WordPress plugins out there, and for a good reason. It has all the tools needed to create a great looking and functional website easily, mainly by dragging and dropping. The interface is extremely simple to use, and the elements look fantastic. And the key feature that separates WPBakery from most other page builders is both the front and back-end editing of your website. This will allow you total control, as nothing will be overlooked.
WPBakery is the best choice for creating complex websites without knowing how to code. Yes, you have to learn how to use it, but this process is natural. Within 20 minutes you will get the hang of it and start creating beautiful websites through this intuitive tool.
The amount of customization WPBakery allows is astonishing. It will give some advance tools even for developers who will be able to make their own add-ons and plugins and even sell them. WPBakery is compatible with any WordPress theme. And you only need to purchase it once to have it for a lifetime, no tricky renewal fees.
All in all, WPBakery, is a fantastic tool and it deserves its place among the top selling WordPress plugins today.